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Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide

'I need to get my head straight' - Johnson

Peter English in Adelaide

December 2, 2010

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Mitchell Johnson at Australia's training session, Adelaide, December 1, 2010
Mitchell Johnson has been dropped from the Test team for the first time in his career © Getty Images
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Mitchell Johnson will aim to straighten out the kinks in both his head and action after being dropped from the Test team for the first time - but he will do it without leaving the squad. Johnson, 29, is staying in the Australian camp despite being the only man cut from the 13-man outfit for Friday's second Ashes Test.

At a sombre press conference that felt more like Johnson had suffered a career-ending injury than a dip in form, he vowed to fight his way back. "It's not the end of the world," he said, sitting below an honour board on which his 5 for 103 against West Indies last year was the latest bowling entry. "I've come back from stress fractures when I was younger, with Queensland."

Johnson, who went wicketless in Brisbane, said he was looking forward to getting away from the hype of the Ashes to start the rebuilding, but he will remain on the fringes as he is counselled by Nielsen and Troy Cooley, the bowling coach. After being the attack leader for the past two years, Johnson will watch as Peter Siddle and two of Ben Hilfenhaus, Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris start in Adelaide.

"In the last game I was trying to do all that work [on my action] during a game, which is obviously very hard to do," he said. "In the end, I need to work things out, go to net sessions, get back in the gym, get my head straight, and get back into the team."

It has taken 39 Tests for Johnson to miss his first game due to form or injury, but Ricky Ponting expects him to rediscover his often magical tough. "Mitch came into the side as a youngish guy as far as cricket is concerned," Ponting said. "He's had his ups and downs on and off the field. I've seen him get the better of a lot of things he has had to face the past few years. His record speaks for itself so I am sure we will see him back with the baggy green cap on pretty soon."

Johnson has 166 Test wickets at 30.08 and while he has starred against high-quality teams such as South Africa, he has flopped in his two campaigns against England. The troubles leading to this point began at Lord's last year, but he has been unable to sustain any improvements to his slingy action.

The coach Tim Nielsen said it was important for Johnson to fix his problems away from the middle, and hoped the revamped version would be shining in time for the third Test on December 16. "We're going to take the opportunity now to give him a spell and relax so he can hit the ground running and be as ready as he can be for Perth," Nielsen said. "We'll use every resource we can to ensure that he's ready to go for that game."

Johnson, who felt he was handling the demotion well, knew that he didn't perform when it mattered in Brisbane. "I'm a strike bowler for Australia and I need to get wickets," he said. "In the back of your head, you're sort of thinking [you might be dropped], but I think I've handled it pretty well."

In helping Johnson, Ponting talked out the times he was dropped. "There aren't many guys in the 11 who haven't experienced similar feelings that Mitch is feeling at the moment," Ponting said. "He's obviously disappointed, but we'll let him get over his disappointment and work with him to get him back to his best."

Johnson believes the episode will make him stronger. He has spoken about his axing with Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, Nielsen, Ponting and the coaching staff. What he does next is up to him.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by satanswish on (December 3, 2010, 3:43 GMT)

Was his head bent until now?

Posted by montys_muse on (December 3, 2010, 3:04 GMT)

It would be good to bring in a genuine opener instead of playing Watson as an opener. It would solve the no.6 problem as well boost the fragile top oder.

Posted by Ryteo on (December 3, 2010, 0:28 GMT)

Since he has bowled closer to the stumps his form has dropped, get wider Mitch and let em rip you'' never swing em in so forget about it and just bowl fast, Lets face it though you don;t have many tricks up those sleaves. plus lets bring in Starc or someone younger and give him 10 years to be as good as you are

Posted by   on (December 3, 2010, 0:02 GMT)

Yeah he had a poor game but the thing with Johnson, one always feels as if he has a dangerous spell around the corner. There's been far too much emphasis on him and how bad against England he is. Well in fact he took enough wickets in the last Ashes series, but he was too expensive. We're only one game into this series and people have already written him off. Anyway, the real weakness for Australia is their spinner. Get rid of Doherty quick.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2010, 23:14 GMT)

Yeah he had a poor game but the thing with Johnson, one always feels as if he has a dangerous spell around the corner. There's been far too much emphasis on him and how bad against England he is. Well in fact he took enough wickets in the last Ashes series, but he was too expensive. We're only one game into this series and people have already written him off. Anyway, the real weakness for Australia is their spinner. Get rid of Doherty quick.

Posted by sharkey11 on (December 2, 2010, 21:01 GMT)

i think dropping Mitch is a good thing, if he had another bad test in Adelaide then it seriously would wreck him. As for tonights test i think it would be alot tighter in repsects to bowling.AUS would want to get some aggression back as they are the home team and would want to remind ENG they are the Home team. The batsmen on both sides won the BRISBANE battle so its time for some moving bowling to ignite the ASHES or peolple will be going to beach early.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2010, 20:42 GMT)

He should do some meditation to get thoughts aligned.

Posted by jupiterlaw on (December 2, 2010, 20:14 GMT)

Well, not just Mitchell Johnson who needs to get his head straight but Australia also need to get their head straight and come to the realization quickly that they can't take these Ashes from England - not with this declining team, not on this occasion. That the Ausses are still hopeful means that they had not understood the lessons that Sri Lanka had taught them only a few weeks ago.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2010, 17:29 GMT)

its just like giving him a break to get his basics right when he does so.......the batsman are going 2 suffer most brutal spells from mitch just like south africans had during tests vs australia in 2008 and 2009 johnson is a guy with a lot of aggression but lot matters the way he works on his technique over the next 2 weeks or so

Posted by   on (December 2, 2010, 17:02 GMT)

I guess johnson sould let his cricketing skills do the talking rather than his mouth. We have seen how he struggled in India and in his own backyard now....... continue like this and the day's not far of when western Australia will show you the gate......

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